Like Theodore, I have a dirty secret that involves having family in non-cool places. He apparently has to go to some swamp to see his mother. To see my grandfather, I trek to a small town outside of St. Louis to a convalescent home not far from what used to be known as Six Flags over Mid-America.
There’s much to be said about visiting my grandfather, traveling alone with the two kids, and about what kind of asshole I must be that this is the first time I’ve ever taken them to meet him, even though we went, for example, to freaking Hong Kong with Dalia.
But I will save those Maoist self-criticisms for later.
What I will say, briefly, is that it’s very pleasant here. There are more little birds than I thought possible, and unlike the birds in New York, these ones sing more than they shit. Also, there are decks here, and they often overlook trees. In the distance on Friday night, sitting on the deck and eating blueberries, we could hear the cheers as the Eureka Wildcats pounded the snot out of the Lafayette Lancers in high school football.
The weather has also been merciful. My last August visit to this place was a nightmarish mix of 100 degree weather, 100% humidity, and 100% likelihood that some tick was about to crawl out of the woods and feast on your scrotum.
Tomorrow we are going to ride a tiny steam train and then we will eat Super Smokers, perhaps the best barbecue I have ever eaten.
I am feeling something here, not quite love, but a twinge of acceptance. Yes: I accept the Midwest. It is good to be here.